#29 Three Things You Need to Know About Your Gut Health

Your microbiome, your mood, and your weight.

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Ever come across the term "microbiome"? If it hasn’t caught your attention yet, it soon will. Dive into this episode to explore the intricate world of the microbiome—the vast bacterial universe residing in your gut. As Western science deepens its comprehension, the implications of our microbiome on our health, mood, and vulnerability to diseases become ever clearer.

Join us as we glean insights from the captivating Dr. Joseph Weiss and juxtapose them with the age-old wisdom of Ayurveda on the significance of a flourishing gut. Your journey to understanding holistic health starts within.



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This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life, and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.

Welcome to Episode 29, of the breast cancer recovery coach. I am Laura Lummer. And today we're gonna be talking about the three things you need to know about your gut health, you're really going to love this. Of course, I want to start off with welcoming you and thanking you so much for downloading for listening to the breast cancer recovery coach. And thanks to those of you who keep subscribing and leaving reviews and stars for the show. I appreciate that so so so much. And if you haven't done so yet, and you enjoy the show, please take the time to go to the iTunes Store, leave a positive review, or just click on a few stars for the show so that it makes it easier for other people to find as well. So thank you again, it means everything to me, I really, really appreciate the support. And I'm really motivated to do today's show because I'm coming off the heels of having spent four days in San Diego, California, at the idea world fitness convention, I attend this incredible event every year. And I not only love every minute of it, but I come back. So excited. My brain is just literally overflowing with new information that I can't wait to do more research on investigate into a little further and share with all of you. So I'm sure you can imagine this, right? It's a fitness convention. It's filled with these incredible workshops and workouts and you can find the latest equipment, you can do anything from Bodyweight Workouts to yoga hybrid classes. And in fact, one of the classes that I took was this mixture of bar and yoga was called prana bar. And it was a really cool class and really hard for those of you who do bar classes or for those of you who never have and you want to check one out bar is these really neat. It's kind of a ballet type of workout, you're not dancing, but as these movements that have a lot of repetition. So they're these little tiny, tiny movements that are integrated into the workout and my god did they make you burn, but they're really great. It's a great, great workout. So idea is an association for fitness professionals. And they put on conferences, the West Conference, the East Conference, and then their big one every year, the idea world. And I've been going to this conference for several years. But about three years ago, they started to add these special summits into the convention. So they have a blog fest. And they have a summit for fitness studio owners and they have this special meeting or series of workshops for it's called the Success Academy where fitness professionals could go and learn about developing their careers or their businesses. And then they added about three years ago, my personal favorite, the nutrition and behavior change summit. So I've been attending that for three years. I like love it every time I learned so much. And for the past two years, I've been fortunate enough to get to listen to Dr. Pamela peak, speak at the nutrition and behavior change summit. If you don't know her name, I highly suggest that you look her up. She has some TEDx talks out there or find her on Facebook. She's got a website, Pamela peak.com. But she's incredibly inspirational. She's an entertaining personality. She's funny and smart. And she's a doctor and a scientist and a Olympic triathlete. And an author of several books like fight fat over 40 and Body for Life for women and a bunch of others she just great. So this year, she delivered a fascinating presentation on light and time, basically, on your circadian rhythms, and how the timing of everything affects our health. So you can expect to hear me talk a lot more about that on a future episode of the breast cancer recovery coach. But today, we're going to get into the gut, that fascinating world of bacteria living inside each of us, that's just really beginning to be understood. So first, a little history of how I become so obsessed with what's happening in my gut. And why I think it's important to create awareness for everyone and being more aware of what's happening in your gut, and of how what's happening

Your gut is really having a big influence on your health. So first of all, the foundational philosophy of our Veda is that all imbalance, all disease begins in the digestive tract. So this is something that has stuck with me since my I began studying our VEDA. And especially when going through chemotherapy and knowing fully well that that treatment just wreaks havoc on your digestive system. So throughout my recovery, I've worked really hard on restoring digestive health through food, through acupuncture, herbal support probiotics. And at the end of last year, in 2017, I started to work with a naturopath and a metabolic specialist, because I was still struggling with some joint pain, some fatigue. And I really believed that the root of it was in my gut. So I wanted someone who could just take me up a little notch more on how I could treat that. So I'm pretty sure that I did talk about this on a previous show. But basically, what he told me was that I was dealing with leaky gut. And that that was something that he sees all the time in cancer survivors. So we started to work on healing that with diet with herbal supplements, and the main dietary change that I made was the elimination of dairy, which I'm about still about 95% consistent with, I still do like cream in my coffee every now and then. But I started doing a lot of research into leaky gut and the science of the microbiome, which is the whole bacterial environment in our gut. And after a few weeks, I began to notice a pretty significant difference and how I was feeling. And then in March, I did do a show on leaky gut, which is episode 23. If you want to go back and give that one a listen. Around the same time that I was working on healing my leaky gut with my naturopath, I came across a company called you biome. And that's just the letter u u biome. This is a company that started in 2012. It was originally crowdfunded. And then it's evolved over the years to the point of making Fast Company, which is industry magazine, Fast Company's List of one of the world's most innovative companies in data science. That's pretty cool. It's pretty big accomplishment. So here's how it works. You go online to you biome, you biome.com And you request a smart gut kit, you fill out a short eligibility questionnaire, followed by your address your insurance information. And the really awesome part is that if your insurance doesn't cover the kit, you biome covers the cost for you, because your sample is becoming part of their research, and it goes into their entire research database. Now that may freak some of you out. And I understand if it does, a lot of people don't like the idea of giving their genetic material away or their biological material away. And then if that doesn't work for you, that's fine. So once you complete this easy application process, you biome, send you a kit, and you follow the simple instructions, you drop the kit back into the mail, and they even pay for the postage. I know I sound like a you biome commercial right now, but I'm not getting paid by them, I just think it's a really cool service that I think you should know about, you might want to try it out. So once they receive your kit, they send out the next one in the series. And when you go through the application process, you get a series of kits, I think I had six. So once they receive your kit, they send out the next one. And that's really cool, because it gives you these snapshots of what bacteria are in your gut. They have a whole side of their website, that's the Explorer part. And once they've analyzed your sample, you can go in and see all the different bacteria they found, you can click on it and see reports on what those bacteria are, what they're doing in your gut, and how your levels of different microbes compare to other people who are in the sample database as well. So it's really, really interesting. And it gives you the opportunity to adjust your diet and see the changes that are happening in your bacteria as you progress through the series. So if you start off on a high fat diet, and then you start to change, maybe you try a vegan diet. And I'll go into some of the changes that I saw a little later here in the show. But you can actually see the changes that are happening in your gut as you change your diet and you're going through these kits. It is really, really cool. So with all that being said, you can imagine how excited I was when I saw that Dr. Joseph Weiss who is a clinical professor of medicine in the Division of gastroenterology at the University of California in San Diego. He was giving a presentation at the idea world nutrition and behavior change summit titled It takes guts connecting brain diet and microbiome. So Dr. Weiss, he's the author of many books including one of my favorites air VEDA, which obviously

is a play on words. And in this book, he integrates the western science of the microbiome. So all of the flora all of the bacteria in your gut with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, and he makes it very fun and engaging, as you could probably guess from the title of the book. Many people talk don't like to talk about the gut, you know, they think it's gross, and they don't want to hear about it. But I love Dr. Weiss, because he takes everything with a grain of salt, he takes it in good humor. And I'll give you an example some of the titles of his other books are to air eight, a IR is human, artsy fartsy, the scoop on poop. So you can tell he takes a humorous approach to to this whole subject. Now I could talk about what I learned from his presentation and my own research that I've done into the digestive system before and after hearing him speak. But I'm going to give you just three things that I think are the most fascinating and impactful ideas and takeaways. And hopefully, these will be things that motivate you to bump that digestive health up to the top of your priority list and creating a healthy lifestyle.

Okay, number one, your gut has a circadian rhythm. And what that means is that your gut or the bacteria in it does certain things at certain times of the day, like producing different molecules at specific times throughout the day that help your body to function properly. In fact, it can send out these molecules to tell other organs in your body like your liver, which is the major detoxifying organ in your body, what to do and when to do it. And this is important because studies are showing that when we throw off the circadian rhythm of our gut, we increase our risk of disease. And some of the things that throw off this rhythm are skipping meals, like breakfast, again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Eating at irregular times and late like late at night,

irregular sleep patterns or sleep apnea, because that's a very disturbed sleep, and antibiotics and food additives that act like antibiotics. So the January 2017, scientific statement that was issued by the American Heart Association said, intentional eating with mindful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions, could lead to healthier lifestyle and cardio metabolic risk factor management. So that's pretty cool. Because it's basically saying, if we're practicing mindful eating, if we're really paying attention to what we're eating, and when we're eating it and how we're eating it, that that in itself can improve our health. And hearing that makes my heart happy because it supports an Ayurvedic lifestyle, which includes regularity, routines, mindful practices, and quality sleep. And these things lead to less bloating and gas, less anxiety, more energy, and overall well being. And we all want that, right, we do I know it before you get lured into the next detox diet supplement plan that you hear about. And you know, I am not a big fan of that type of thing. I suggest that you first try bringing some regularity into your eating and sleeping habits first. And you might be really surprised at how much better you feel without spending a dime. And I would say a dime or hundreds of dollars, because some of these detox diets and plans and supplements can be very, very expensive. So give some thought to how your body works. Think about yourself and how you work. When you don't get enough sleep. When you stay up too late. I don't know when your habits are just kind of thrown out of sync for a few days at a time. And know that that's also affecting these living organisms that are inside of your body. So something that gives some thought to number two, the bacteria in your gut affect the way your brain works. Now, you may have heard people say that your gut is your second brain. But there's really nothing in our body that acts on its own. You know it? It's not like your brain works one way and then your gut works another way everything influences each other. And more importantly, it seems to be that at least in some instances, the signals from your gut actually affect the way that your brain feels and thinks. Now we're all wired with this amazing nervous system. And one of the longest nerves in that system. The vagus nerve goes directly from the brain all the way down to the gut. And then what's happening inside of the gut, the activity, the care

multiple signals that are being released by the bacteria that live in that gut, travel back and forth on this vagus nerve. Some of the activity in your gut is actually impacting the way that your brain is feeling. Now your brain sends signals to the gut as well. And there's a lot of interaction between the two, regarding hormones, which every woman knows can affect the way you think and feel. But did you know that if you have gastrointestinal disorders, you're at a higher risk of mood disorders, anxiety, and depression. So Health Beat, which is a Harvard Medical newsletter, in an article they wrote or published on the gut brain connection stated that a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress or depression. That's because the brain and the gastrointestinal system are intimately connected. And that's a quote. So maybe if you struggle with anxiety, depression, unstable moods, maybe it's not all in your head. Maybe some of it's in your gut. So according to Dr. Weiss, the most remarkable finding is that the human body and its microbiome are in nearly constant communication with each other. It would not be an overstatement, he says, to describe these discoveries as revolutionary, and our understanding of health and disease is being dramatically altered. I mean, that's pretty cool. That's pretty impressive. And knowing that the to that the health of the gut, that the diversity and the functionality of the microbiome may have an impact on that, that's kind of a cool thing to know, because it can actually give some direction to someone now, am I implying that gastrointestinal health is going to cure everything? Or be the key to managing mental well being? No, that's a very complicated subject. But I am saying it could offer some further support, and maybe some stability and some balance. So it's definitely something to look into, especially with the science just showing how much impact that the gut is having on our brain. Number three, getting your gut right may help to get your weight, right. So if you're one of the many, many people who hear themselves say, I'm doing all the right things, and I just can't get this weight off, you may want to refocus your attention from balancing your macros to balancing your microbes. For example, I'm going to give you a little insight into my own new biome report. So there's this bacterial species called Ackerman Xia, new Cinna philia. I know the names that they give these little bacterias are crazy. But anyway, the research is showing that this particular bacteria is associated with a decrease in obesity, diabetes, and inflammation. Studies are also suggesting that even a short fasting period can increase the levels of akkermansia in your gut. So this is really interesting considering how popular intermittent fasting has become in the world of health and nutrition. But the more interesting factoid is this, when I submitted my first you biome test, I was following a 14 hour intermittent fasting protocol, and also not eating any grains or legumes in my diet. I would stop eating at 7pm. I did fasted workouts in the morning, and then I ate again at 9am. In what my you biome results showed was that Ackerman sia made up almost 3% of my gut microbiome at that time. So here's a side note. I've tried many different nutritional approaches for a month or two at a time when I was doing you biome, because I wanted to see what changes would occur. So I was kind of like my own lab rat. That fast forward to March of 2018, I had stopped the intermittent fasting, and I had added in a few servings of whole grains into my diet. And the report that I received back from that period showed that my akkermansia level was zero. Yeah, it completely disappeared. Now, I didn't experience any change in weight between these two tests. But again, I didn't stick with either plan for very long, I was just testing stuff. Because I wanted to see, would there be a really impactful change in my microbiome based on sometimes I had a higher fat diet. Sometimes I had a higher in vegetables, sometimes green, sometimes no green, so I thought it was really fascinating to see that change in the microbiome. Now Dr. Weiss also tells us that remarkable studies are showing that the gut microbiome influences calorie absorption of food, weight, balance and fat

deposition. There are even studies where microbes have fat and skinny mice were exchanged, and their weights changed corresponding to what their microbiome was, even if their diet and exercise did not change at all. That's so cool. But that being said, don't go running out to sprouts looking for a probiotic full of Ackerman Tia, because first of all, I already checked in there isn't one. But more importantly, there are nearly a dozen of these little bacterias associated with Reversing Obesity, at least over a dozen that we know of at this point. And of course, there are those that are known to increase the chances of obesity, well, you can't have one without the other. So it's really your microbial diversity plays a huge role, and is a big piece of this puzzle. So just to put things into perspective, as we're talking about one particular bacteria, or about a dozen of them. Dr. Weiss in his presentation says that the number of unique species of microbes in the human microbiome is thought to number more than 1 million. And each one of those has an average of between 15 to 30,000 of their own unique genes. So you could just imagine how much influence and how many factors are at play here in your gut. So it's not like changing one bacteria is going to change everything. So let's talk about what you can do to improve your microbiome and your health. Well, obviously, you can get an analysis done through you biome, and then you can see exactly what you're dealing with. And some of the categories that they also look through in this test are for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis. So they do look at the microbiome to see if there's any pathogens in it at that time of testing. But then they look at the microbial diversity, and give you reports on things like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and the microbes you have in your body and how those may affect any of those conditions as well. There are several different conditions that they give you a report on. And there may be other companies who do this kind of analyzing the microbiome, but I really don't know. I mean, I found this one and I ran with it, because it worked for me, and I've loved the experience so far. But if that's a kind of thing that you're not interested in at all, and that path doesn't work for you, or for some reason you don't have access to it, you can begin with some of your own mindful analysis. So meaning that when you eat, just eat, pay attention to how you feel when you eat different foods. Notice if you feel bloated, or gassy afterwards, notice if you get heartburn, or even if your nose starts to run or your throat starts to feel scratchy, this could be an indication that something in that meal or something in that food just isn't working for you. And I think it's important to point out that organic versus non organic really can make a difference in how you react to foods. So for example, my daughter can eat organic bananas, but she has an immediate reaction to non organic bananas, which means that it probably isn't the banana at all. But the pesticide on those bananas, that's really a problem for her. So if there are certain foods that you react to, and that you're unsure, you know, I don't mean a severe reaction. Obviously, if you have a severe food reaction, don't eat that food in any form at all. But if you're unsure, you might dabble with some different vegetables and fruits, if you're not sure if there's a difference in how you feel when you eat the organic variety as compared to the non organic. And again, you know, having a whole organic diet can be very costly. So sometimes you have to make decisions between you know, the whole Dirty Dozen and clean 15 the foods that we know absorb pesticides, even more than some others, we really want to try to eliminate those, but also in seeing how you react to a food and noticing if maybe I can only eat organic cucumbers and I really love cucumbers. Or maybe I can only eat an organic variety of this food which is still too expensive. So we eliminate that food from the diet. Those are just some options for you. So taking a good probiotic that's a safe and simple step. And of course you want to check with your doctor before you do that. Because especially if you're on any kind of prescription drugs, you want to make sure that you're not opening yourself up to some kind of a reaction because probiotic is a living organism and it can affect your metabolism. Eliminating processed foods and feeding your little bacteria buddies real food, healthy fiber and a variety of nutrients. This is super important. And especially because we know that a lot of food additives can have antifungal properties anti bacterial

Upper isn't actually act like antibiotics in the gut. And that's something we really want to avoid.

So become knowledgeable, be aware of the difference from prebiotics to probiotics. So prebiotics are food that feed your microbiome, right? So you're feeding your little bacterial buddies. And these are foods like leeks, onions, asparagus, Hichem, a, garlic, chicory, and bananas. And there's a whole list of many more, and you can easily Google a list of prebiotic foods. And then you incorporate these prebiotic foods into your diet. So they're actually feeding that bacteria. So that like the the akkermansia case I told you about, there are certain environmental changes in the gut that cause different bacteria to grow. So you can try prebiotic foods, probiotics, these are the actual living organisms that I just referred to. And these are ones so you're kind of, you know, finding a new home for them. As you're eating a probiotic. You're putting living organisms into your body. And probiotic foods are things like kefir, you know, fermented foods, unpasteurized yogurt, because the process of pasteurization will kill the living organisms, kimchi, and again, you can Google a full list of probiotic foods. And there are probiotic supplements. So if you are dealing with intestinal issues, things that you know, right are intestinal gassy, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, alternating those kinds of things. Or even if you have these other issues, and maybe you've been dealing with them, and they're not working, joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, maybe anxiety, maybe some skin issues, maybe it's time to take a look at the health of your gut. Take some of these steps to make changes, or work with a professional to help you construct a really nice, healthy whole food diet, and even help you create those behaviors that enable you to incorporate those healthy foods into your diet, because sometimes that is a behavior change, if this isn't something you're used to doing, and you might have to set up some different cues, and new thought processes to incorporate these foods or these meals into your diet. But it's a great step. It's a natural step. It's something that should be very helpful for you. And I will post some of these resources and especially a link to Dr. Weiss's books. He's got a wonderful series on digestive health also that goes into just a ton of different ailments, which I think is really cool, because if there's something specifically bothering you, you can look right into that's kind of an encyclopedia of digestive health. And I'll post some of those links on my website. So if you have questions or comments on this show, or if you have any interesting insights, on your own experience with healing your microbiome, I would love to hear about them. And I'd love for you to become a part of our community of thriving breast cancer survivors. So find me on Facebook and Twitter as Laura Lummer Instagram breast cancer recovery coach, and if you haven't done so yet, go to my website, download my book six habits of healthy happy breast cancer survivors. And in addition to all that, look for a special release podcasts coming this week, July 11, which is the celebration of my seventh year of surviving my diagnosis of stage two breast cancer. I love saying that like surviving is a great feeling. And I want to share that feeling with each and every one of you because I know some people out there are new into this new out of treatment, maybe still going through treatment and you're struggling and you're struggling with that idea of being a thriving survivor or getting back to life or having the life that you feel like maybe you've lost a grip on and trust me that's there for you there is a future. So tune in look for that show coming out on July 11 and take care of yourself take care of your gut and until next time, let your lifestyle be your medicine. Laid all your doubts in

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